There’s a couple in England whose ambition is to shag in every theatre in London. I know this because Graham Norton told me, the same night Bradley Cooper explained the connection between ping-pong balls, vaginal cavities and Thai bars to an over-awed Alex Kingston and a bemused Rob Lowe. But anyway, this couple have publicly stated their ambition to have sex in every theatre in London, but I’m thinking they may well be having a holiday in Sydney.
I’m pretty certain I can state that as a near accurate fact, because on Friday night I saw the truly fabulous Sydney Theatre Company production of The White Guard, with the extraordinary Miranda Otto. Funny, moving, beautifully performed and gorgeous singing from the superb all-male cast (except Ms Otto). And the shagging couple were sitting right in front of me.
Possibly, it was the high level of testosterone on stage that inspired their not funny, nor moving, not even remotely beautifully performed piece of improv theatre, which would not have been out-of-place in the back seat of a car at the local drive-in (younger readers, please Google or watch Grease for explanation). But in the dress circle of The Sydney Theatre?
You’re probably thinking, young love, how sweet. New love it may have been, but young they were not. The mwah, mwah, tongue- probing-ear, slurp, snuggle noises they were making were incredibly distracting. I could’ve taken the ‘if you can’t beat’em, join’em’ approach, but my husband was already snoring next to me.
He’s like one of Pavlov’s dogs. He sits down in a theatre, the lights dim, the opening words are spoken and he’s asleep. And the only physical contact we share is me jabbing him in the ribs. It makes for a great night out. I’m tense, en-garde, ready to apply my elbow like a finely sharpened épée and he’s bruised and sulking because I’ve disrupted a perfectly good snooze.
It could be worse, he could be reading Facebook, text messages, coughing, supplying a running a commentary, rustling his chocolate wrapper at the most poignant moment. All things I’ve witnessed at the theatre. It’s as if the audience thinks there’s an invisible barrier between them and the performers, even other audience members, and that no-one will notice the foil being noisily stripped away from their Toblerone. Or the glow of their mobile phone as they read a text or update their Facebook status.
Here’s my suggestion. We corral all shaggers, snorers, coughers, talkers, texters and eaters in the back rows of the theatre and they can annoy each other and leave the rest of us to enjoy the performance we actually paid to see. And in the case of The White Guard, it was the best play my snoring husband has ever seen.